Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hattrick

“Again? Sharvani, isn't this like the third phone??" Janaki was asking....

Ok so I've done it, I just lost my third mobile :(

What’s it with me and them? I’m not a careless person, I never lose anything, I’ve never lost anything important in my life... I have a classic condition of hoarding! I keep even the tiniest of scraps of papers, and receipts, and chits and all sorts of rubbish. If u went through my desk, you'll find receipts of dance class I attended 2 years ago, a broken watch, small notepads filled with all the important, not-so-important and even useless stuff. I even have the eye prescription cards of all the years, the very first dating back to 1997, sim cards of all my previous mobiles numbers and all the college and exam ids till date, even broken key chains kept for reasons I do not remember. I store everything, so much that every once in a while I have to throw out a bucket full of junk after scrutinising every little scrap. So what exactly is it with these mobiles? Why don’t they want to last with me??

Year 2004, Nokia 3310, phone number 9890389015, that’s the first cell phone that I lost... actually not lost, stolen!! Stolen from my bag, through the zip, from the bench behind, while I was sitting in the class completing my assignment. I was already having a bad day, and I called my mum before the class started, came back in, kept the cell in my bag, zipped it shut, and sat down to finish my homework. There were very few people sitting in the class. Suddenly I felt my bag move a bit, and I turned around... nothing. The girl sitting behind me was furiously writing away something, and everything was calm. A little suspicious but thinking I must have imagined it, I turned back to my work, and the bag moved again... okay there was no mistaking it this time. I looked back and the girl behind was still pretending like she did nothing. Out of caution I checked my bag and BINGO... no cell! Just like that, within a matter of 5 minutes! And then what followed next was a big drama which included the girl sitting behind me, a couple of friends, the accounts professor who ran the academy and a chase around the building! I’ll spare you the ugly details; it's too much for me to recite anyways. But the end result: she got away n I didn’t get my cell back, but not before the whole academy came to know what had happened! Hats off to her for managing to pull it off and vanish my cell with all the watchdogs I had planted around her.
If you thought that was the worst…. Wait! The worst is yet to come and it wasn’t the drama, nor the fact that I had to threaten and search that girl in vain and not even that I actually screamed myself hoarse at the professor for being unhelpful…. not the worst ever trip to the police station. NO, the worst thing about this entire episode was the fact that it was 10th august 2004...
And next day 11th august……………, was my 18th birthday!

2007 - The next silly adventure... Nokia 1100, number 9423882682. This time I went a little further; stolen once, now it had to be something different! So my mobile this time did the disappearing act with the entire purse... and of course with everything contained in it, money, passbook, driving license, credit card, election card, my glasses... Ouch!! It still hurts to remember!!
It so happened that I was dropping off my brother to his tuitions, and in the hurry, instead of my usual habit of putting the purse in the boot of my bike I gave it to him to hold while I was riding. Once there, he took off leaving my purse on the back seat and I absent-mindedly drove away. 5 minutes later I was at the petrol pump looking for my purse to fill up the tank! “Shit, my bro took it with him...” was the first thought! Another 5 minutes later standing outside his tuitions looking at his puzzled face,”Damn... this is not happening to me" was the second thought. Two more rounds of the area, asking a million people on the way and an empty fuel tank later, I was forced to conclude that it was gone. He left it on the seat as he got down and it fell somewhere on the way! Of course this is all assumption because neither of us really have a clue of what happened to it!

Ok, so the first two times I could pin it on somebody else, like ''come on, I couldn’t really have prevented it from getting stolen that way, and plus I did everything I could to get it back, its just tough luck! Could happen to anybody!" and everybody nodded sympathetically. The second time it went something like, "I don’t know where my brother keeps his head, must have seen some girl and forgot all about the bag" Yeah, that earned me quite a few laughs. But the third time there was no ignoring it, the fact was staring me in my face and I had to mutely accept it!

Year 2009, another Nokia 1100 (won’t give the number this time, I’m still using it). Two week ago, travelling home with my friend Janaki, in her car, I answered my dad's call, telling him I would be home soon. And that’s the last I remember of that cell. What happened next is quite a mystery. We got down just outside my house, went to a cyber cafĂ© in the neighbourhood, sat there for an hour, and I walked home where my mum was waiting for me with her hands on her hips asking where I was and why I wasn’t answering my phone. One quick search of the bag and I there I was thinking "Oh no, not again!" I ran back to the cafe where Janaki was still sitting and we searched the cyber cafe, we searched the car... but was I really expecting it to turn up??

So, standing with Janaki I was pondering, reminiscing the last two events like they just happened yesterday..... 'Cant believe how much trouble a little rectangular piece of metal and plastic can cause, not to mention all the running around I will have to do to block the card, get my number back and then to figure all the contacts I had to retrieve them!'

And Janaki was asking..... "Again? Sharvani, isn’t this like the third phone??"

"Yes, thanks for reminding, I had almost forgotten!!"

Friday, January 16, 2009

Spirit

I love this song, speaks a lot that I can't put in words....

I gotta fight another fight
I gotta run another night
get it out, check it out
I'm on my way and I don't feel right
I gotta get me back
I can't be beat and that's a fact
its ok, I'll find a way
ain't gona take me down, no way....

Don't judge a thing till you know what's inside it
don't push me, I'll fight it
never gona give in, never gona give it up, no........
If you can't catch a wave then you're never gona ride it
you can't come uninvited
never gona give in, never gona give it up, no......
you can't take me, I'M FREE.

Why did it all go wrong
I wana know what's going on
what's this holding me
I'm not where I'm supposed to be
I gotta fight another fight
I gotta fight with all my might
I'm getting out, so check it out
you're in my way, yeah, you better watch out....

Don't judge a thing till you know what's inside it
don't push me, I'll fight it
never gona give in, never gona give it up, no.........
If you can't catch a wave then you're never gona ride it
you can't come uninvited
never gona give in, never gona give it up, no......
you can't take me, I'M FREE.

by Bryan Adams
Spirit (animation)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Constant vigilance! .... and its side-effects

In the aftermath of the attack of 26/11 in Mumbai, we saw the Indian public wake up and speak out their outrage about terrorism. Many blamed our government for not being competent enough to handle this threat, others spoke about the steps that needed to be taken to curb the ever-increasing nuisance and still others thought that it was necessary to be vigilant and alert ourselves. But many of us don't realise that sometimes in the haste to be watchful, some people take it too far. One such incident happened to my cousin.

So on Dec 12 2008, Teju was travelling alone from Mumbai to Goa on the Konkankanya express. She happened to be travelling with a couple sitting right in front of her. Teju assumed they were on their honeymoon because they were embarrassing even to look at. Initially, the train was going packed, but by the time it reached Tivim station in North Goa, a lot of passengers had left. And so, after tolerating the couple for better part of the journey, Teju took advantage of the then almost empty train and moved away from them to take the seat next to the passage window. She took her backpack with her, but left the heavier handbag lying under the seat. There was still time till the train reached Margao station and the evening breeze felt cool, and Teju never realised when she dozed off.

She's not sure exactly what woke her up, but she thinks it was the sound of ripping paper that brought her back to her senses and she turned around to see that her handbag lay open next to this couple while they rummaged around it. Two seconds of ringing silence.... and Teju screamed in shock and leapt to her feet. What was more, she was carrying a beautifully wrapped gift for her new-born niece; and she was outraged to see that the man was holding what remained of the gift paper in one hand and an open box in the other. 'What are you doing?' Teju demanded. 'Oh.. umm... is this bag... yours?' The guy stammered. 'Of course its mine, what are you doing going through it?'

By now, clearly embarrassed and probably cursing themselves for their stupidity, the couple launched a series of explanation. Apparently these two geniuses saw the unattended bag and thought that it must be left there by someone (perhaps a terrorist?) with intentions of foul play. And they decided that the least they could do was to check it out to be sure. 'But why did u open the gift?' Teju asked. 'Well.. um... we thought it would be a clever way to.... you know.... disguise a bomb....' By this time, Teju was trying hard not to burst out laughing. (She later told me that she thought that the couple must have also assumed that the wind-chime inside was a clever new design for a bomb.) Trying hard to keep a straight face, all she managed to say then was 'Well next time, ask around before you do that'. Thoroughly embarrassed, the couple apologised over and over again and helped her repack the bag.

Meantime, the train reached the Margao station and not wanting to be around them any longer than she had to, Teju quickly got off. Waiting at the station I was surprised to see her in a foul mood (she was still angry about the gift). As I helped her with her bag, I asked her what was wrong and a half exasperated and half fuming Teju told me the entire incident and we laughed all the way home.

Later when I thought about it, I asked myself, in their haste to play the hero, did they ever realise that they were doing the exact thing that they are not supposed to do? Assuming that it was a bomb, it would have blasted in their faces when they tried to investigate. Besides, it would have been more sensible to ask around before they opened some stranger’s bag. And if nobody claimed it, then just stay away and call the TC. So its official, common sense is definitely not so common.

So people, next time before we do something like this and embarrass ourselves, let’s keep a few things in mind.
Good intentions alone are not enough, you need to couple it with a presence of mind.
If you do find a bag/box.. etc lying around without an owner, its best to inform someone in authority or simply call the police.
And lastly, do not take matters in you own hand. We know how brave you are, you don't need to demonstrate it.
So let’s keep everyone safe and help make 2009 a terror-free year. Amen!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong, it is also the way we try to save them. - Shantaram.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hello Everybody

‘Hello Everybody’ reads the title to the article on page 92, Reader’s Digest, December 2008. The subtitle ‘What if, for an entire month, you greeted everyone in your path?’ Inviting enough to read, and tempting enough to experiment with. And so I decided to give it a shot with only one slight modification. I realised that it wasn’t going to be feasible to say hello to each and everyone I meet, so instead I decided to begin with an affable smile.

With the dawn of the next morning, I decided to put the frostiness of the world to test. And with the very first friendly smile to a not-so-friendly neighbour, I realised that this wasn’t going to be any easier. By the time I reached office, a ride that takes approximately 10 minutes through traffic, junctions and parking (thank god no signals in Goa yet), I had collected myself only 3 smiles to boast of…
A woman I helped with her purse that fell off her bike…
The watchman at the gate…
And the doctor who practices next to my office…

Throughout the office hours, I smiled at my boss, my colleagues, clients all of whom smiled encouragingly back. Don’t know if it was me but everyone seemed to be in a better mood, upbeat at being acknowledged and in good spirits. I even gave a wide smile to the postman who blinked stupidly and looked sideways at my colleague as if mutely enquiring ‘is she ok?’ But without letting that daunt my spirit, I continued smiling for the rest of the day. I realised and experienced that grumpiness begets grumpiness, and a cheerful smile cures all moods.

But at 6pm as I walked out of the office, my own friendly resolution was put to a tricky test. Upbeat and elated, I inadvertently gave a broad smile to a bunch of guys relaxing on their bikes. Delighted about a girl smiling at them, the over-friendly smiles and the appalling look that I got back made my own foolish smile falter. ‘Enough with this experiment honey’ I told myself! Isn’t it enough with all the humiliation we otherwise go through as women, without us deliberately inviting some more? And all the lessons we learn as we grow up about being cautious and guarded aren’t really all hollow and empty in a world full of crime, deception and recently……… terrorism. Maybe it was time to reserve the smiles and the greetings only to people I am acquainted with, after all.

And so, as I walked to my bike and put the key to the ignition, I came to an unusual conclusion; it's an unfriendly world out there, but maybe with good reason.

P.S. It does not mean that we stop being friendly ofcourse. How can we forget that one act of random kindness at a time can bring about the change that we want to see in the world. I merely thought that Joe Kita, the writer of the original article, missed an important point.

Original article by Joe Kita : http://www.rd.com/living-healthy/what-if-you-said-hello-to-everyone-in-your-path-for-a-month/article107782.html

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dream is place where a wish and a fear meet. And when the wish and the fear is the same, we call it a nightmare. - Shantaram

Happy New Year

Everybody wants to be a master, everybody wants to show their skills
Everybody wants to get their faster, in the way to the top of the hill
Each time we try, gona get a little bit better
Each day we climb, one more step, one more ladder
Its a whole new world we live in,
Its a whole new way to be,
Its a whole new place with a brand new attitude......
But you still gotta catch them all (the dreams) as fast as you can.
Happy New Year......

(Adopted from Pokemon)